This season saw the launch of the Football Association Referee Recognition Awards. The event was held at the home of English Football, Wembley Stadium. In the months prior to the event all referees, county football associations and clubs were asked to nominate FA referees for a variety of categories to celebrate the incredible referee workforce.
The FA received a huge number of nominations and Westmorland FA are immensely proud to have two winners in the inaugural year. The awards evening was delivered by Sky Sports Presenter Mark McAdam and a variety of guests were invited to present the awards, including Women’s Championship Referee Ella Broad and Women’s FA Cup Referee Emily Heaslip.
To make the event even more special, the awards were hosted in the Royal Box, the award winners and guests were also given the opportunity to walk down to the famous steps where only days before Manchester City lifted the FA Challenge Cup after the first ever all Manchester final.
It was the turn of our very own Alexander Wilson and John Higgins to write the next chapter in the Wembley history books and receive their awards.
So, what was won?
Alexander Wilson – The Referee Inspirational Role Model of the Year
For those of you that don’t know Alexander, he is a young referee with dyspraxia. Alexander is living proof that anyone with this common condition, can still achieve goals and the rewards that football brings.
Alexander’s effort, commitment and knowledge show every young person with dyspraxia that they can break down the barriers in front of them to achieve success. This young man is not only a role model to people with dyspraxia, but he is also a role model to every one of the thirty thousand referees nationwide.
Alexander had his award presented to him by Mark Bullingham, Chief Executive Officer of the Football Association and Head of Refereeing Operations Peter Ellsworth.
To read more about Alexander’s story, follow this link.
John Higgins – Referee volunteer of the Year
John Higgins is the current Westmorland League Referees Appointment officer. It's fair to say that when John took over the role, the league was struggling to support officials. John was unable to cover every game in division one, two and three.
However, with a strong commitment to supporting referees and clubs and making opportunities available, John can cover all his games! Including the recently added division four.
John’s referee support work is fantastic, he is a referee, mentor, coach and observer. This award truly recognises the hard work, dedication and commitment John has displayed in his role.
John received his award from former FIFA Assistant Referee David Crick and former EFL Referee Jarnial Singh.
The evening was brought to a close when the head of English technical refereeing Daniel Meeson addressed the room and spoke of the immense pride the Football Association has towards its referee workforce and wished everyone a successful 23/24 season.